Wow, No Thank You - Critical summary review - Samantha Irby

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Wow, No Thank You - critical summary review

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Biographies & Memoirs

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: Wow, No Thank You: Essays

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 0525563482

Publisher: Vintage

Critical summary review

The main character of the book ‘’Wow, No Thank You’’ is the writer herself. From the perspective of a 40--year-old woman, Samantha Irby reflects on her life mostly by concentrating on the struggles middle-aged people face. Even if you do not relate to Irby, her sharp-witted comments will keep you amused while reading. So, get ready to hear what Irby has to say about (her) life! 

Living a glamorous lifestyle

    The popularity of lifestyle blogs created a new occupation for numerous wealthy girls who would otherwise enjoy their fortunes in solitude. The author calls them ‘’gorgeous ingenue with piles of secret wealth that she never divulges to the unsuspecting slobs on the other side of the screen.” These girls share with their followers daily routines that keep them fresh, beautiful and healthy. Living up to their standards is often difficult as they use expensive products, which, even if you can afford, do not guarantee the same results. Irby comments ironically, “Wow, she got that skin just from vitamins??”

    The writer looks at this phenomenon critically, confronting the reality of her daily ‘’beauty’’ routines. ‘’I don’t shave my armpits or legs, but somehow I still take an inordinately long time to get clean. After my shower, I use Neutrogena body oil, because you can get a giant bottle super cheap at Target and it smells like rich people. My towel smells like mildew, but I ignore it!’’

    Health and lifestyle gurus often emphasize the importance of staying hydrated, but, as Irby notes, no one talks about the downsides of drinking a lot of water. ‘’All these magazines tell you how you should really be drinking your weight in water every day, and all these movie stars would have you believe their skin glows because of that water bottle they’re carrying around, and I believe them, but also, why doesn’t anyone ever talk about how much peeing you will have to do?”

    Real life is far different from a lifestyle blog. For example, if you work from home as a freelance writer who is occasionally hired, as Irby does, it can be challenging to get out of bed every morning. How about the rest of the day? Irby says, ‘’My afternoons are always like, ‘searched through all my jacket pockets to find a half-melted lip balm before catching the cat eating its own vomit off the kitchen rug.’” Evening rituals, unfortunately, do not stand out from the rest of the day either. They include eating an easy-prepared dinner and watching soap operas. The day ends when she eventually falls asleep in pajamas that look the same as the clothes she wore all day.

Going out - then and now

    What is the author's attitude on parties? She says, ‘’I used to party a lot. The only reason I stopped is because I got too old to do it right.’’ Is partying glamorous after you turn 40? To emphasize the contrast between going out when you are in your 20s and your 40s, the author describes her party preparation routines and the flow of the party itself.

    When you want to have fun in your 40s, you face numerous obstacles. Irby says the first one might be the difficulty of getting out of bed due to the aches you feel. “In the minutes after I groan myself awake, I lie there taking a mental inventory of all my various aches and pains.’’ Once you are up, you might have a dilemma about whether to shower immediately and try to stay fresh and clean until the evening, or to ‘’be disgusting all day then shower right before the event.’’ 

But do you really want to go out? Youngsters can’t wait for the weekend to party. When you get older, however, it is more likely you hope that your friends will cancel your plans to spend a night out. If they do not, it’s time to get ready. What should you wear? Or, maybe a better question is - what can you wear? Why not settle for something comfortable like high-waisted, black yoga pants? Does your outfit even matter?

    Things don't get easier once you reach the club. You have to find an available table, talk over loud music, and pretend that you enjoy alcohol. The good thing is that you have more money than when you were young. As Irby writes, ‘’The dope shit about being forty at the club is that you and your friends are old enough to have credit cards to open tabs with.’’ Even though your happiness is at its peak when you return home, Irby assures you still can feel pretty happy in the club. ‘’I’m not at home in bed in a sweatshirt, under the covers with a package of Oreos, but it’s also not so late that I feel like I’m going to die.”

Q & A - love and marriage

    Irby shares her attitudes on marriage by commenting on problems couples usually face. She presents some common relationship-based questions and the answers to them. 

Question: I have been living with a man for more than a year. Despite the fact that we get along well and love each other, he does not want to get married. Should I wait for him with the hope he will change his mind eventually?

Irby’s answer: If you want to commit, but he does not, your needs differ. Don’t believe you can change him. ‘’Anyway, he’s not a bus - stop waiting for him. Catch the next one!’’

Question: My wife and I have only been married for a couple of years, and our sex life is still pretty hot. However, I’m wondering why my wife doesn't want to have sex with me in the shower?

Irby’s answer: ‘’Probably because she values having intact front teeth.’’ Life is not a movie. Sex in the shower is impractical, as one person usually shivers, trying not to slip, while the other one is trying to get the shampoo out of their sensitive eyes. 

Question: My husband has an annoying eating habit. When he finishes a meal, he puts a plate or bowl in his mouth and sucks the food remains. While doing this, he makes an irritating sound. How can I talk to him about it without offending him?

Irby’s answer: Everyone does this. How else are you supposed to get all the food from your plate? Don’t talk to him about it and let him enjoy his meal.

Question: I have been in a relationship with a boyfriend whose parents do not like me and, therefore, don’t invite me to any events they organize. What can I do to get them to accept me?

Irby’s answer: Acceptance, birthday dinners, and parents are overrated. Anyway, do you really want to sit with them and listen to their stories about the cruise they took last autumn? ‘’No, you want to be blowing your nose on the sleeve of your sweatshirt and watching Billions while you and the cat share a bowl of ice cream. WIN, WIN.’’

How adults make new friends

    Making new friends when you are an adult working from home, with no clubs you participate in, and no PTA meetings to go to is hard. According to Irby, that is the hardest thing she has ever attempted to do. Even if you do meet someone new, start talking with them and realize that you want to be friends with them, how can you spontaneously let them know about it?

    Moving to a new house is an opportunity to make friends with new neighbors who come to your door to say hello. This doesn’t necessarily work however, if you are the type of person who does not open the door if somebody unknown rings the bell. Irby comments on the same experience she had, ‘’It’s possible that they were coming over to offer me homemade bread or a hand-drawn map to all the local breweries or perhaps even their friendship, but I will never know, because I’m from Chicago and I don’t believe in answering an unsolicited door knock.’’

Eventually, Irby found a friend right in front of her house. It was a woman named Emily, who Irby had once met at a mutual friend's wedding. Emily was trick-or-treating with her children. 

    Emily and Irby did arrange to meet for lunch, and they had a great time. What made Irby uncomfortable, however, was when the waiter asked her where she was from. She saw this question as an opening line, after which he would ask her for an autograph. ‘’Are you familiar with my work?’’ she asked, but then felt embarrassed in front of her new friend when he got confused. ‘’Of course, this young, cool person with pink hair and hand tattoos wasn’t familiar with the self-indulgent ramblings of a middle-aged depressed lady with chronic diarrhea!’’ Luckily, that lunch wasn’t the last for these two women. They continued meeting and became close friends. ‘’I somehow survived the awkwardness of that early attempt at courtship and we’ve settled nicely into the very comfortable next stage of friendship.’’

On cats and ghosts

    The death of your cat might be an opportunity to think about ghosts. Especially if you feel the cold air around your ankles on the day your cat died. Irby writes, ‘’The morning after my cat Helen was euthanized, I was in the kitchen ... when I felt the air around my swollen ankles grow cold.’’ 

    Believing in ghosts is a convenient way to deal with the loss of a loved one or to explain the source of humming coming outside of your apartment at night. ‘’My brain, molded by years of grainy exorcism videos on 20/20, immediately leapt to the conclusion that my apartment was haunted by a pissed-off demon,” she says. “This was pre-cats, before I fully became a spinster witch, so it wasn’t like I had a creature around who could tip me off.’’ For a while, Irby thought that the ghost visited her each night, announcing its presence with the humming sound. One night she decided to ask this creature to leave her alone. ‘’I pay six hundred and ninety dollars to live in this asbestos closet and I don’t need a roommate. You have to leave!” The reasonable talk with a ghost paid off - the noise at night stopped. Besides that, Irby got to know her neighbor living in the apartment above her. The day after she was yelling at the ghost to leave, he came to her to apologize for the loud sound his bass amp was making.

    After saying goodbye to ghosts, Irby decided to get a new pet. This time, she decided to adopt a dog. She went to an animal shelter with her wife to pick it up. ‘’Am I really going to schedule my entire life around the scatological needs of a creature who will chew through all my fancy toys?’’ she wondered. However, instead of returning to her home with a dog, she returned with a kitty. It seems that cat people stay cat people for life. 

Final Notes

    In ‘’Wow, No Thank You,’’ Samantha Irby proves that any topic can be funny and interesting if you know how to approach it. As Glennon Doyle wrote for Hello Sunshine, ‘’Samantha Irby’s Wow, No Thank You is a gift that everyone should give themselves and each other.’’ If you lack amusement and positivity in your life, this book will certainly be the right choice for you. 

12min Tip

    If you are not satisfied with your current life, try looking at it from a humorous angle. Laugh can be both liberating and healing.

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Who wrote the book?

Samantha Irby is an American comedian, author, and blogger. Her blog, ‘’Bitches Gotta Eat’’ deals with her personal life. In her books, she also writes about herself in the f... (Read more)

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